Every Tuesday, Predlines will be bringing you the latest news and analysis from the Central Division. Because the Predators success largely depends on the failures of our divisional opponents, we need to track their every move throughout the regular, post and off season. If we’ve left something of note out, contact us at [email protected]
Like last week, if the playoffs started today, only Nashville would be looking from the outside in. Detroit is in front of the Central Division, second in the Western Conference, with 23 points. St. Louis sits in 5th spot, Chicago 6th and Columbus would come in at 8th place in the Western Conference. The Predators, having snapped a five game losing streak with two consecutive shoutout wins, are in 11 place in the Western Conference, 1 points out of the 8th spot.
Chicago Blackhawks 9-9-2
Last week, the Blackhawks had three games on the schedule. Wednesday night, Chicago lost to Phoenix at home 2-1 before traveling to Nashville, where the Blackhawks lost to the Predators in a shootout on Saturday night. In back-to-back games, Chicago hosted the Ducks on Sunday and won in overtime, snapping the two-game losing streak.
This week, Chicago heads to the northwest to take on the Oilers on Wednesday night. The Oilers already lead the season series 2-0 against the Blackhawks. Chicago moves on to Calgary to face the Flames on Friday night and in another back-to-back series will face the Canucks Saturday night.
Dave Bolland returned to the lineup on Saturday night when the Blackhawks took on Nashville. Bolland was out with a rib injury.
The Blackhawks have no new injuries.
Columbus Blue Jackets 9-6-0
The Blue Jackets only played two games last week. On Wednesday, Columbus played host to St Louis and absolutely clobbered the Blues 8-1. On Friday, Colorado visited Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets lost the game by a decisive 5-1 score.
This week, the Blue Jackets visit California. Columbus is in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Anaheim on Friday and San Jose on Saturday. Columbus travels home to host the Predators Monday night.
The Blue Jackets acquired left wing Dane Byers from the New York Rangers in exchange for center Chad Kolarik. Byers was assigned to the Springfield Falcons, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Columbus placed left wing Kristian Huselius on injured reserve retroactive to October 23 and added right wing Mike Blunden to the roster on emergency recall from Springfield. Huselius suffered a lower body injury at Chicago on October 23 and is out indefinitely.
Detroit Red Wings 11-3-1
Last week, Detroit played two home games and won both. Edmonton lost 5-1 on Thursday and Colorado was beat by the Red Wings 3-1 on Saturday.
The Red Wings play the next five games at home. On Wednesday, Detroit hosts Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have lost their last three games. Detroit hosts Minnesota on Friday and the Flames on Sunday.
Detroit signed forward Louis-Marc Aubry to a three-year, entry-level contract. Aubry was selected in the third round, 81st overall in the 2010 entry draft and is currently playing for Montreal in the Quebec Major Junior League.
Detroit has no new injuries. Kris Draper (sports hernia injury) and Chris Osgood (groin) are still out of the lineup. On Saturday, Draper skated with the team.
St. Louis Blues 9-4-3
Last week, St. Louis played back to back games on Wednesday and Thursday nights against divisional opponents, losing both. On Wednesday, the Blues travel to Columbus and were hammered 8-1. On Thursday night the Blues hosted the Predators and lost in a shootout. The Blues hit the road later last week, losing 5-3 to Phoenix on Saturday. The Blues woes continues on Monday night when they lost to Colorado on Monday night.
This week, the Blues visit Detroit on Wednesday before going home for a couple of weekend games. The Eastern Conference visits on the weekend as the Senators and Devils come to St. Louis on Friday and Saturday respectively.
The Blues signed David Backes to a five-year contract extension last week worth $22.5 million.
Monday night, Carlo Colaiacovo was activated off injured reserve and scored a goal in his first game back since suffering a concussion October 28th in a game against Nashville. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Blues forward David Perron is still out after being his by San Jose’s Joe Thornton on November 4th.
T.J. Oshie broke his ankle in the third period of Wednesday’s game against Columbus.
The Blues still have some long-standing injuries. Defenseman Barret Jackman remains on injured reserve with a sprained knee, suffered in last week’s game against San Jose. Jackman is out at least three weeks.
Defenseman Roman Polak is still out because of a wrist laceration and won’t even be re-evaluated for seven more weeks.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Wednesday, November 24th when the Preds take on the St. Louis Blues for the third and final time at Bridgestone Arena. The game is going to be televised nationally on Versus. You do not want to miss it!